FOUREYES is one off those films that knocks your socks off with how distinctive, yet fully realized it is. The latest short film from the brothers Byrne (producer Tyler and director Conor), the film is a dizzying practice in style: the music, production design, cinematography — even its titles are impeccably prepared in a way that is in nostalgic conversation with genre conventions yet feel wholly fresh.
In the film, young Bobby Bowersox (Jake Ryan from Inside Llewyn Davis & Moonrise Kingdom), is on the cusp of puberty. Getting glasses for the first time propels him into a sudden and traumatic recognition of this fact. The central metaphor is understated yet obvious — Bobby sees the world in a whole new way now, and his quirky but uptight suburban family have a difficult time communicating the changes he feels.
The result is a fast-paced film that has a lot of fun. Conor likes to use sitcom-y sound effects and cuts between carefully composed frames to play up the film’s comedic angle, yet the specter of sex hovers over all affairs in an ominous way, from the creepy optometrist to the school’s sex education class. A couple of sequences shade a horror vibe to the film through inventive lighting and disorienting camera moves. This makes a great pairing with the iconic Americana that is the film’s setting. After all, sex and horror have always gone hand in hand.
Brudder Films first came onto SotW’s radar via our own Ivan Kander, a fan of their previous film First Mate, which he showcased in an episode of our YouTube show on Production Design. FOUREYES ramps up the quality and effort of Conor’s vision substantially in this area, and Sara K. White deserves a special shoutout. Proving to be one of indie film’s standouts of the field, she worked on Brazzaville Teen-ager, which we previously featured, as well a numerous feature films currently on the festival circuit.
Speaking of feature films, Tyler has a burgeoning career in producing, having helped birth Blue Ruin, one of the most anticipated indie releases of 2014. He and Conor are also continuing in a commercial vein working with reputable production company Hungry Man, which is credited on the film. Recently Conor directed his first commercial project with them, a really original branded piece for health care provider Wellpoint. What’s great about that spot is how true it is to Conor’s nascent, but established style — cute but edgy, impeccable in its attention to detail. It is an exciting voice, which has found a perfect playground in the short form. We’re hoping more short films are in the cards for this exciting team.